Last month NASA officials gave a series of presentations about the space agency’s deep-space exploration plans to the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Committee. I have excerpted slides from those presentations to provide an overview of what the space agency is planning. (more…)
ATLANTA, August 4, 2017 (SpaceWorks Enterprises PR) —SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI) announces the recent award of a Phase 2 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO) to advance the design of a sustainable and evolvable platform to provide persistent payload hosting capabilities in geosynchronous orbit (GEO).
The GEO platform would be a single spacecraft assembled from multiple smallsat-scale spacecraft modules conforming to the DARPA Payload Orbital Delivery (POD) form factor. The platform would be capable of providing electrical power, data processing, and high-bandwidth communications to hosted customer payloads. Support for both commercial and government customers is envisioned in order to maximize the utility of the platform and create an economically viable system.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Deep Space Industries recently delivered 3.5 gallons of dirt to NASA. But this wasn’t ordinary dirt; it was developed to simulate the material found on an asteroid or moon.
We’ve all heard of dogtags for dogs and for soldiers. But, for space robots?
That’s what Jonathan Goff’s Altius Space Machines will begin developing with NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I funding. The contract is worth $125,000 over six months.
Altius’s dogtags are lightweight, passive robotic interfaces that could be attached to habitat structures and objects. Examples of structures include human-tended deep space habitats and commercial manufacturing facilities in Easrth orbit that wouldn’t be permanently staffed.
Tethers Unlimited (TUI) will being developing a small satellite capable of growing itself in orbit and a metal press and milling system capable of creating precision parts in microgravity with the help of NASA funding.
The projects were among four TUI proposals the space agency selected under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I program. The contracts are worth up to $125,000 apiece over six months.
The selected proposals include:
Metal Advanced Manufacturing Bot-Assisted Assembly (MAMBA) Process
COBRA-Bee Carpal-Wrist Gimbal for Astrobee
The Automated X-Link for Orbital Networking (AXON) Connector
Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics has been selected for a NASA small business award to begin development of a system to extract soil from martian soil.
“The Advanced Mars Water Acquisition System (AMWAS) recovers and purifies water from Mars soils for oxygen and fuel production, life support, food production, and radiation shielding in support of human exploration missions,” the proposal states. “The AMWAS removes water from Mars soils using hot, recirculating carbon dioxide gas to provide rapid heat transfer. The AMWAS evaporates water from ice and salt hydrates, leaving dissolved contaminants in the soil residue.”
Astrobotic Technology has been selected for a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract to develop a new class of rover to evaluate conditions on the lunar surface.
“The proposed innovation is a Lunar CubeRover specialized as a 2 kg payload to evaluate lander ejecta and to characterize small-rover trafficability,” the proposal states. “This CubeRover and its roles are specific to the RFP though broadly more general and impactful for exploration enterprise.
Honeybee Robotics will begin developing new technologies that would allow a lander to drill into the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa and collect samples for analysis with the help of a pair of NASA small business awards.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 399 research and technology proposals from 277 American small businesses and 44 research institutions that will enable NASA’s future missions into deep space, and advancements in aviation and science, while also benefiting the U.S. economy. The awards have a total value of approximately $49.9 million.
The agency received 1,621 proposals in response to its 2017 solicitation for its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. From those, NASA selected 338 SBIR and 61 STTR Phase I proposals for contract negotiations. The SBIR Phase I contracts last for six months and STTR Phase I contracts last for 12 months, both with maximum funding of $125,000.
ATLANTA, April 7, 2017 (GO PR) – Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the award of a Follow-On Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division (AFRL/RQH) for development and flight testing of the GOLauncher 1 (GO1).
NASA has selected five propulsion projects for phase 2 funding under its Small Business Innovation Business (SBIR) program. The space agency will enter into negotiations with the five companies on contracts worth up to $750,000 over two years.
Three of the projects involve technology for the storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants in space. The other two projects would fund development of nuclear systems.
The selected projects include:
Lightweight, High-Flow, Low Connection-Force, In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Coupling — Altius Space Machines, Inc, Broomfield, CO
Innovative Stirling-Cycle Cryocooler for Long Term In-Space Storage of Cryogenic Liquid Propellants — Converter Source, LLC, Athens, OH
Proposal Title: A High Efficiency Cryocooler for In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Storage — Creare, LLC, Hanover, NH
Joining of Tungsten Cermet Nuclear Fuel — Plasma Processes, LLC, Huntsville, AL
Accident Tolerant Reactor Shutdown for NTP Systems — Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Los Alamos, NM
NASA has selected two proposals related to in-situ resource utilization for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The space agency will enter into negotiations with two companies for contracts worth up to $750,000 apiece over two years.
The selected proposals include:
In-Situ Ethylene and Methane Production from CO2 as Plastic Precursors — Opus 12, Inc., Berkeley, CA
Extraterrestrial Metals Processing — Pioneer Astronautics, Lakewood, CO